Page Weight/Download Optimization - What's Image Type is Best for Lists

I just launched a website and we’re looking to re-optimize the homepage. We currently have two sets of bullet styles at 1k with 6 in each list.

Regardless of how we do it, these will not kill the page on the download, but is it worth it to make them inline images than have served as backgrounds which requires the extra http requests?

I’m not sure why there would be any more HTTP requests one way or the other. Your browser is going to ask for the page, the stylesheet and the images … it has to download those whether the images are in the CSS or inline.

If it’s a bulleted list, mark it up as a bulleted list, and use CSS to apply the appropriate styling. From what you’ve described, that will be the most efficient way of doing it, in terms of bytes transferred and HTTP requests made (repeated inline <img>s will be more bytes than a single CSS reference). But even if it wasn’t, you should focus on getting the right semantics there, and if that costs you half a nanosecond on the download (and that’s the kind of level we’d be talking about here), that’s a price worth paying for the people who now get a meaningful page rather than gobbledegook.